Daily Archives: June 27, 2014

Questions about Marriage: Why Does God Hate Divorce?

 

Malachi 2:16 is the oft-quoted passage that tells how God feels about divorce. “ ‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” But this passage says much more than that. If we back up to verse 13, we read, “You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.”

We learn several things from this passage. First, God does not listen to the pleas for blessing from those who have broken the covenant of marriage. First Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (emphasis added). There is a direct correlation between the way a man treats his wife and the effectiveness of his prayers.

God clearly explains His reasons for esteeming marriage so highly. He says it was He who “made them one” (Malachi 2:15). Marriage was God’s idea. If He designed it, then He gets to define it. Any deviation from His design is abhorrent to Him. Marriage is not a contract; it is a covenant. Divorce destroys the whole concept of covenant that is so important to God.

In the Bible, God often provides illustrations to teach spiritual realities. When Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar, it was a picture of the day, hundreds of years later, that the Lord God would offer His only Son on that same mountain (Genesis 22:9; Romans 8:32). When God required blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin, He was painting a picture of the perfect sacrifice He Himself would make on the cross (Hebrews 10:10).

Marriage is a picture of the covenant God has with His people (Hebrews 9:15). A covenant is an unbreakable commitment, and God wants us to understand how serious it is. When we divorce someone with whom we made a covenant, it makes a mockery of the God-created concept of covenant relationship. The Church (those individuals who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord) is presented in Scripture as the “Bride of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7–9). We, as His people, are “married” to Him through a covenant that He established. A similar illustration is used in Isaiah 54:5 of God and Israel.

When God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden, He created it as a picture of the greatest unity human beings can know (Genesis 2:24). He wanted us to understand the unity we can have with Him through redemption (1 Corinthians 6:17). When a husband or wife chooses to violate that covenant of marriage, it mars the picture of God’s covenant with us.

Malachi 2:15 gives us another reason that God hates divorce. He says He is “seeking godly offspring.” God’s design for the family was that one man and one woman commit themselves to each other for life and rear children to understand the concept of covenant as well. Children reared in a healthy, two-parent home have a far greater likelihood of establishing successful marriages themselves.

When Jesus was asked why the Law permitted divorce, He responded that God had only allowed it “because of the hardness of your hearts, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8). God never intended divorce to be a part of human experience, and it grieves Him when we harden our hearts and break a covenant that He created.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Prayer: What Does It Mean to Pray for Our Daily Bread?

 

The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus used to instruct His followers how to pray, is well known among Christians. Many recite it in unison as a form of liturgy; others meditate on each portion in their private time with God or view it is a model of the components of prayer. The prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4. One portion of the prayer says, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

The first, and most obvious, meaning of this request is that God would sustain us physically. Jesus was perhaps alluding to God’s provision of manna, which was given every day in the desert (Exodus 16:4–12; Deuteronomy 8:3; John 6:31). We recognize God as our provider and rely on Him to meet our daily needs. This does not mean that we expect God to literally rain down manna on us but that we understand He is the one who makes our work fruitful, sometimes even meeting physical needs in miraculous ways. Shortly after instructing His followers how to pray, Jesus talked to them about anxiety. He said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25, 33). Interestingly, in the Lord’s Prayer, the request immediately preceding the appeal for daily bread is for God’s kingdom to come.

Requesting daily bread is not only about physical provision. It can also refer to asking God to provide for our less tangible needs. In Matthew 7:7–11 Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Good parents provide not only what their children need for physical life, but also for practical, emotional, and relational needs. God is the giver of good gifts (James 1:17). “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

God has already met our greatest spiritual need, that of forgiveness and restoration, through Christ (Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; John 20:31). But He does not stop there. Jesus calls Himself the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35). “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). Jesus says He came to bring us abundant life (John 10:10). Not only are we saved for eternity, but we also experience a restored relationship with God now. We seek Him daily, and He renews us day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). The branch is continually nourished by the Vine (John 15:5).

Yes, God sustains us physically and meets the less tangible needs of this life. More than that, He fulfills our spiritual needs. He is the bread that satisfies our spiritual hunger. He sustains our hearts. When we ask God for our daily bread, we are humbly acknowledging Him as the sole giver of all we need. We are living day by day, one step at a time. We are exercising simple faith in Him to provide just what we need, when we need it—for every area of life.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Humanity: Does the Bible Support Eugenics?

 

Eugenics is a social movement that supports the supposed improvement of the human population via selective breeding and other means. It was originally developed by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, and based upon Darwin’s theory of evolution. Eugenics was practiced openly in the early decades of the 20th century in many countries, including the United States. After WWII, eugenics by that name fell into disfavor when the extent of Nazi atrocities became known. Eugenicists advocate genetic screening, birth control, segregation, transhumanism, euthanasia, compulsory sterilization, forced pregnancies, and abortion.

Margaret Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. Sanger was also a proponent of eugenics who railed against the “reckless breeding” of the “unfit.” In her bookWoman and the New Race, she wrote, “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it” (Chapter V, “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families,” 1920). She desired “to breed a race of human thoroughbreds” and would rather a society “produce a thousand thoroughbreds than a million runts” (Radio WFAB Syracuse, February 29, 1924, transcripted in “The Meaning of Radio Birth Control,” April 1924, p. 111).

From its founding, Planned Parenthood has been involved with eugenics. In 1932 the organization received the endorsement of the American Eugenics Society. To this day, Planned Parenthood is targeting those whom Sanger and other eugenicists would call “unfit.” Their 1997 publicationPlan of Actionstated their “core clients” are “young women, low-income women, and women of color.”

The Bible does not specifically mention eugenics, but the idea behind eugenics—that man can better himself by ridding the world of “undesireable” people—is definitely not biblical. God told mankind to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28; 9:1, 7). No exception to that command is given in Scripture. In fact, King Solomon wrote in Psalm 127:3–5 that children are a heritage from the Lord and that the fruit of the womb is a reward from Him.

God gives us life and numbers our days (Job 33:4; 14:5). The sovereign Lord determines whether we live or die. For social engineers to usurp God’s authority in order to create a self-defined “master race” is evil. We are to obey God, not men (Acts 5:29).

English theologian G. K. Chesterton wrote in his 1922 bookEugenics and Other Evils, “There is no reason in Eugenics, but there is plenty of motive. Its supporters are highly vague about its theory, but they will be painfully practical about its practice” (from Chapter VIII, “A Summary of a False Theory”).

Eugenics is a meritless and immoral social engineering experiment with dubious chances for “success,” as defined by its supporters. It is a slippery slope in which Chesterton’s scientific madmen abrogate the authority of God and seek to create their own utopia on Earth. Through abortion and euthanasia, eugenics is simply murder. Job 24:14 says, “When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief.” This is the role of eugenicist: killing the poor and needy and those he deems “unworthy”; preventing a “poor quality of life” (in his estimation) by taking life; denying men’s liberty; and playing God.

“As he went along, [Jesus] saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’ ” (John 9:1–3). Who are we to decide who does or does not display the works of God? The Bible tells us to defend the weak (Matthew 25:35–36; Acts 20:35), not to kill them.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 27, 2014

“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. (Revelation 3:11 ESV)

3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. (2 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)

It is one thing to say, “Come soon Lord Jesus!” and quite another thing to live as if you mean it. There are some today that teach we should live this life with our focus on the here and now rather than eternity. Why? This is to create a better world or make this world a better place. However, I also tire of those who treat eschatology much like the world handles…

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